Posts Tagged ‘green’

New gas markets are opening up

Posted on: March 25th, 2010 by Graeme Codrington 2 Comments

One of the major issues we are all facing is the looming energy crisis. Dwindling oil supplies, pollution from dirty energy sources (such as oil and coal) and growing fears around global warming are all combining to create a fairly bleak future. The solutions are systemic and must be multi-faceted, including reducing the amount of energy we consume and finding cleaner – and alternative – energy sources.

Of the current energy sources, gas is always cited as one of the best options. It is (relatively) cleaner and cheaper. But, because Russia controls a massive amount of Europe’s gas reserves, it has also been a very political commodity. And, it has been assumed that there was not a lot of gas around. But now, new drilling techniques, new technology and new gas field finds are changing the energy landscape. The USA is now probably the world’s producer, and has enough gas to potentially be self-sufficient for 100 years. That is a mind blowing thought! It will change everything if it’s true – cleaner energy, abundantly available in the USA will change politics, energy, environmentalism and the global balance of power. It will certainly remove a big incentive for American military intervention around the world.

I was therefore fascinated by a report in last week’s Economist that detailed just such a scenario. You can read “An unconventional glut” at The Economist website.

Get used to the cold and blame global warming

Posted on: January 10th, 2010 by Graeme Codrington 2 Comments

This is just a short comment on something I can’t believe I keep hearing in the media. Well, to be honest, I only hear it from those that hold ludicrous beliefs to start with. But I have heard a few times in the last week that “so much for global warming”, or “they said global warming was a problem, hah!”.

The cause of these comments is the longest and coldest period in many decades in the UK. With temperatures in Scotland reaching a frigid -23 Celcius, and London having highs below zero for the last few days, and snow and sleet forecast for next few days, this is a real issue for the UK. It’s cold, and the government is not coping with it. They don’t have enough stock of salt and grit to clear the streets, for example.

Everyone needs to get used to colder winters. They will get more frequent. That’s what “global warming” does. It makes summers hotter and winters colder. “Global warming” does not refer to how it feels to us all year round. It refers to average temperatures over land and sea. “Climate change” is a better phrase to use to describe the problems we will actually experience. Cold winters. Hot summers.

This is not your parent’s future… This is something new. And it’s something we need to deal with. That’s what COP15 was supposed to be about. I hope the winter chills remind the politicians that we need a real, workable, lasting solution. Quickly.

2010 will be an important – but bad – year for green business

Posted on: January 4th, 2010 by Graeme Codrington 1 Comment

Cop15, the global conference in Copenhagen last year, produced about as much as anyone could have expected (a lot less than was hoped) – a fudged solution that requires much further discussion and negotiation. And in the UK, the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme (the renamed Carbon Reduction Commitment) initial deadline for creating baselines was pushed out a year to April 2011. It’s unlikely the USA will be able to get to a final cap and trade agreement into legislation during 2010 (the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 must still pass through the Senate). While China made positive noises before Cop15, it seems that they were really sticky in Copenhagen and were a big reason that the final agreement did not include any operational terms.

With all of these issues in mind, it seems clear that 2010 is likely to be a year of talks and discussions, but very little action. For companies involved in green industries this will be frustrating. Many of these companies are startups, gearing up for the expected demand in sustainability issues (technology, consulting, business processes, engineering, energy, and much more). But many of them won’t survive another year of waiting and delays in implementation and client demand. It seems likely they will have to.

Companies that are keen on implementing green strategies (for whatever reason) have probably started to do this already. Companies looking for an excuse to delay implementation, however, will have plenty of excuses in 2010. They’re likely to keep delaying. They’ll do so until they’re forced to change (and that’s the main reason I support emissions trading legislation!).

So, 2010 will not be a good year for those involved in the sustainability industry. But it is an important year nevertheless. It’s important to continue lobbying. It’s important to continue to search for the best solutions and the best processes that will not only produce the best outcomes, but will also be compelling for those who are not yet convinced that anything needs to be done. It’s an important year for science – more must be done to show the scientific evidence of climate change and the need for changes in our lifestyles. And it’s an important year for venture capitalists, who must try to separate out those startups that truly have something to offer from those that are just taking a chance on the bandwagon (remember the shakeup in the online IT industry just 10 years ago?).

HBR: Why Sustainability Is Now the Key Driver of Innovation

Posted on: September 8th, 2009 by Graeme Codrington No Comments

Last week, The Harvard Business Review issued a new white paper illustrating that sustainability strategies are not a bottom line drain to business, but the most effective way to create competitive advantage moving forward. The authors, Ram Nidumolu, C.K. Prahalad and M.R. Rangaswami, are well known for their future focused views, and I think their article makes a good contribution to this field. As you would expect from HBR, there is a focus on the opportunity in sustainability, using successful corporate sustainability stories from companies such as Wal-Mart, Clorox and HP.

You can read the introduction to the study here, and get the whole study if you’re an HBR subscriber.

They come out with a five point strategy: